Submarine Gardens, Santa Catalina Island

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In the News~

[1895] “Until 1895 glass bottom boxes were placed on the water at the side of an ordinary boat when parties were looking for abalones and viewing the submarine gardens. In that year, Alex O'Leary, the hermit of San Clemente Island, who spent some time at Avalon, suggested the construction of the glass bottom boat, and acting upon this suggestion Bill Condit and Charles Fage proceeded to build the first craft of the kind ever made, and in which Mr. O'Leary was skipper for some time. The first side-wheel glass bottom boat was built by Gurious & Tobin in Mathewson's boatyard, and afterward became the property of the Meteor Boat Company, although it is ow dismantled and idle...” [Guinn, J. M. A History of California and an extended history of its Southern Coast Counties (1907) vol. 2]

July 18, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “When visiting Avalon do not fail to take a trip on the large glass-bottom powerboats and view the wonderful submarine gardens. Regular trips to Seal Rocks at 3:00 P.M. Moonstone Beach at 9:00 A.M. Both trips show Marine Gardens.”

September 6, 1921 [TI/Avalon]: “Everett Adargo, native Catalina diver. Not the least attraction of the submarine garden boats are the deep sea divers. Among these Everett Adargo is one of the best-known by reason of having been an almost life-long resident of the island. Indeed, he is known as the native diver. Mr. Adargo has a record of remaining 3 minutes and 15 seconds under water, and diving to a depth of 56 feet. He weighs 190 pounds and is credited with having the remarkable chest expansion of 5 inches. He accompanies the glass-bottom boats almost daily, and dives winter and summer… Mr. Adargo is happily married, his charming wife and two boys occupying the old homestead on Whittley Avenue.”

1930 [TI/Avalon]: “The seventy-third birthday of Captain Joe Adargo was celebrated Saturday evening, when he was given a surprise dinner at the Spanish Kitchen, by his sons and daughters, including Mrs. Rose Lee James and husband; Mr. and Mrs. Everett Adargo; Mr. and Mrs. Alex Adargo; and Pete Adargo… Captain Joe was born in Los Angeles in 1853, and is a real Avalon old-timer. Years ago, under the Banning Company management, he was one of the lifeguards. Someone asked Joe how he kept so young. He replied: ‘Rowing a glass-bottomed boat.’ He makes several trips a day in his rowboat over to the submarine gardens. Joe’s many friends will join us in wishing him many happy returns of the day.’”

April 29, 1937 [TI/Avalon]: “This is the name chosen for the new glass-bottom boat which had its first trial trip on Monday. It is 58 feet long, with a width of 11.6 feet, will carry 85 passengers as a taxi, or 50 to view the submarine gardens, with a speed of 17 knots, generated by two 275 h.p. engines.”